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Issue No.04 - October-December (2005 vol.27)
pp: 5-22
ABSTRACT
In 1948 the Federal Institute of Technology in Z?rich, Switzerland, (ETH), established a new institute in its mathematics division, the Institute of Applied Mathematics. Its first director, Professor Eduard Stiefel, recognized from the beginning, that the newly emerging computers would be adamant to this new field of mathematics. The early use of the Zuse Z4 Computer at Stiefel's Institute is well known, however no detailed description about Stiefel's own construction, the ERMETH computer have been published so far. This article describes why Stiefel decided to build his own computer and what objectives he set for it. The article also gives insight into the construction of ERMET, how it was programmed, and what it was used for.
INDEX TERMS
ERMETH, ETH, Switzerland, Stiefel
CITATION
Hans Neukom, "ERMETH: The First Swiss Computer", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.27, no. 4, pp. 5-22, October-December 2005, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2005.58
REFERENCES
1. E. Engeler, Konrad Zuse und die Frühzeit des Wissenschaftlichen Rechnens an der ETH: Dokumentation zu einer Ausstellung um die Z4— den Ersten an der ETH Eingesetzten Computer [Konrad Zuse and the Early Times of Scientific Calculation at ETH: Documentation of an Exhibition on the Z4— The First Computer used at ETH], ETH Mathematisches Seminar, Zürich, 1981 (in German).
2. H. Rutishauser, "Massnahmen zur Vereinfachung des Programmierens (Bericht über die in fünfjährige Programmierungsarbeit mit der Z4 Gewonnenen Erfahrungen" [Measures to Simplify Programming (Report on the Experiences Gained in Five Years of Programming the Z4], Nachrichtentechnische Fachberichte, vol. 4, pp. 26-30 (in German).
3. A.P. Speiser, "The Relay Calculator Z4," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 2, no. 3, 1980, pp. 242-245.
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5. E. Stiefel, "Rechenautomaten im Dienste der Technik. Erfahrungen mit dem Zuse-Rechenautomaten Z4. K" [Automatic Calculators in the Service of Technology. Experiences with the Zuse Automatic Calculator Z4], Veröffentlichungen der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Natur-, Ingenieur- und Gesellschaftswissenschaften, vol. 45, 1954, pp. 29-65 (in German).
6. B. Tobler, "Z4 und ERMETH: Maschinen im Dienste des Wissenschaftlichen Rechnens, Interview mit Ambros Speiser und Carl August Zehnder," Loading History— Computergeschichte(n) aus der Schweiz ["Machines in the Service of Scientific Calculation, Interview with Ambros Speiser and Carl August Zehnder," Loading History— Computer Histories from Switzerland], vol. 1, Kommunikation und Kultur [Communication and Culture], Museum für Kommunikation, 2001 (in German).
7. A.P. Speiser, H. Rutishauser, and E. Stiefel, "Programmgesteuerte digitale Rechengeräte" [Program-Driven Digital Calculation Tools], Mitteilungen aus dem Institut für angewandte Mathematik an der Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule in Zürich, vol. 2, Birkhäuser, 1951 (in German).
8. J. Robert Stock, "Die Mathematischen Grundlagen für die Organisation der Elektronischen Rechenmaschine der Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule" [Mathematical Foundations for the Organization of the Electronic Calculation Machine of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology], Mitteilungen aus dem Institut für angewandte Mathematik an der Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule in Zürich, vol. 6, 1956 (in German).
9. A. Schai, "Die Elektronischen und Magnetischen Schaltungen der ERMETH" [Electronic and Magnetic Circuits of the ERMETH], Scientia Electrica, vol. 3, no. 4, 1957, pp. 127-140 (in German).
10. H. Waldburger, Gebrauchsanleitung für die ERMETH [Operating Instructions for the ERMETH], Institut für angewandte Mathematik der ETH, 1960 (in German).
11. H.R. Schwarz, "The Early Years of Computing in Switzerland," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 3, no. 2, 1981, pp. 121-132.
12. M.V. Wilkes, D.J. Wheeler, and S. Gill, The Preparation of Programs for an Electronic Computer, Addison-Wesley, 1951.
13. F.K. Kneubühl, Die Berechnung und Auswertung von Mikrowellen-Rotationsspektren durch ein Programm der Elektronischen Rechenmaschine ERMETH [The Calculation and Interpretation of Microwave Rotational Spectra by a program on the Electronic Calculation Machine ERMETH], Juris, 1959 (in German).
14. F.K. Kneubühl, T. Gäumann, and Hs.H. Günthard, "A Program for Automatic Digital Computation of Transition Frequencies and Analysis of Microwave Rotational Spectra of Rigid Asymmetric Tops," J. Molecular Spectroscopy, vol. 3, 1959, pp. 349-362.
15. H. Zuse, "Konrad Zuse Multimedia Show," CD-ROM published by Horst Zuse, Berlin, 2003.
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